Whether you play a grand piano or upright piano, tuning a piano is an impossible task if you are not equipped with the appropriate equipment, and if you do not take the usual precautions.
When you have just bought a piano, you don’t think about the factors that will detune it: movements, temperature variations, humidity and time. Many pianists think that a professional can best tune a piano.
However, to carry out this task alone is within the reach of (almost) all insofar as the apprentice factor acts with thoroughness, but it will be complicated for novice pianists who have no previous musical training.
Indeed, tuning requires time, practice, right tools, patience, and above all, perfect ear.
What are the reasons for tuning your piano?
Many musical instruments must be tuned, guitar, bass, violin, ukulele, all stringed instruments in short. The piano is therefore no exception to the rule. Unless you own a digital piano of course.
A piano must be regularly tuned so that its strings are tight enough. But, what effects would a lack of maintenance have?
You must first tune your piano so that the instrument is pleasant to play and to hear. An out of tune piano can be recognized immediately and even more so when you have perfect pitch. The notes are less dynamic and the sound is altered.
But tuning your piano is also essential to avoid damaging it. An acoustic piano is made primarily from wood, but also from cast iron, leather, or steel. These latter materials do not change too much over time. On the other hand, wood is a fragile material that needs to be maintained. Wood can rot, ripple, etc.
With the change of temperatures, the wood that makes up your piano sometimes moves slightly, relaxing the strings of the piano.
This phenomenon also occurs when guitarists leave their instruments without strings for a long time. The neck of the guitar is then deformed and it happens that it is irreparable. Even more fragile, the harp must be placed in special conditions to be able to be played correctly.
The piano can be placed in any room at room temperature. The passage of the seasons, although the piano is inside a house, has a huge influence on the piano. In winter, the heaters are on. The air can be drier and all of these phenomena can upset the balance of the upright or grand piano.
The wood either tightens or expands depending on the humidity of its environment. The strings then also lose their tension.
Playing on a tuned instrument is important in keeping the desire to learn to play the piano. Beginners at the piano will not always notice that their instrument is out of tune and this can affect their confidence. Indeed, we find that the piece played does not sound very good and we can quickly believe that it is his fault.
The pleasure of playing is important, as is the development of your musical ear too, but in good condition.
When to tune your piano?
To play the piano in the best conditions, it is advisable to tune your piano once a year. This rhythm allows the piano to “get a makeover” once all the seasons and the temperature changes have passed.
But, this is the minimum. It can be more if you want and feel the way. In addition, calling on a professional requires a budget that we are not all ready to put in twice a year.
It is also advisable to tune your piano more regularly if it is new. The material and the strings have not yet had time to stabilize. Regularly tuning the piano then allows you to train the instrument and fix it.
And, be careful not to leave your piano for too long. It is very difficult to tune a piano that has not been touched for a few years. But beyond the frequency to tune your piano, are there times more opportune than others to carry out this revision?
It is best to avoid tuning your piano when the temperatures are too extreme: in winter and summer. Spring and autumn are therefore the two ideal seasons for tuning the piano. Likewise, avoid tuning the instrument in a humid place. For example, a piano that is poorly insulated and the damp house will be much more likely to go out of tune often. So place your piano in a corner that is neither too dry nor too wet.